For seven seasons, Charlie Hunnam reached an age of maturity in front of TV viewers as the rank-rising Jax Teller on the gritty drama Sons of Anarchy, a show that will never die to its engine-revving fanbase. It sounds like Hunnam had a harder time than expected letting go of S.O.A., and the actor had to adamantly commit himself to mentally moving past his biggest claim to fame, as it has led to a bit of Jax entering the roles he took when the show ended. CinemaBlend's own Eric Eisenberg was in Las Vegas, speaking with Charlie Hunnam about King Arthur. Hunnam was asked about Sons of Anarchy, and said this:
I've never had an experience of getting so close and so deeply meshed with a character before. I felt when I finished Sons that it was a real process to get back to center, and try to exorcise him out of my psyche for as much as possible. Because I'd been living with him for eight years, you know, trying to bring him to life.
I fully understand how Charlie Hunnam would have a tough time letting the grim and tortured existence of Jax Teller out of his brain once Sons of Anarchy wrapped. Even after filming was done, there were still the TV airings and the promotional campaigns, so there might not even be a specific point when Hunnam started to let his inner Jax dissipate. And considering how the SAMCRO Prez actually did exit the Sons universe, not to mention everything that happened to him from the Tara-forking Season 6 finale onward, it would have been far more shocking had the British actor quickly and painlessly left Jax in his side-view mirrors.
Over the years, Jax definitely got more than enough moments of happiness -- though even those usually came attached to acts of violence or debauchery, rather than family time or finishing a crossword puzzle -- but he was more often than not a compacted ball of stress and exhaust, and he murdered people at a regular clip. I'm getting antsy just thinking about what I'd need to revert back to a calm and collected everyday life. In fact, the turmoil happening within the story started to bleed over into the relationship that Hunnam had with creator Kurt Sutter, although it all eventually blew over. (Maybe.)
In his comment about Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam mentioned how Kurt Sutter's vision was his schooling in the acting world. (And we all know how we never forgot anything we learned at school, like Algebra II, right?
You know Kurt [Sutter]'s writing, he doesn't shy away from high drama so we swing for the fences in almost every scene. So we're filming four or five massive scenes a day on that show, and so after eight years of that, I felt like I graduated. But because my education came from that show, I'm sure I bring a lot of that into everything I do
After Sons of Anarchy came to its smash ending on FX in 2014, Hunnam avoided TV for the big screen with the releases of 2015's gothic horror Crimson Peak and 2016's adventure biopic The Lost City of Z, while also taking roles in the yet-to-be-released big budget epic King Arthur and the crime biopic Papillon. Everyone's homework for tonight is to watch those first two films and mark down all the Jax-isms you can find.
Now we'll ask the questions that we know everyone is thinking after reading all of that. Just how hard was it for Kim Coates to leave his Tig persona behind? Was David Labrava just a smiling mirror image of Happy in the months/years after Sons ended? Did Dayton Callie spend his days getting high and worrying about cancer like Unser did? So many Sons of Anarchy characters, so many ways for the actors' lives to have gone strangely once they were done with it. Check out what Hunnam had to say for yourself:
If Charlie Hunnam's version of King Arthur is constantly smoking cigarettes and talking to porn stars, then yes, I think we'll be able to say that the actor still has a little too much Jax Teller wrapped up in his acting. You'll be able to catch him and his many knights when Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword hits theaters on May 17. But for everything coming to TV in the near future, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.